Fire Safety for Orlando Hotel Managers
In Orlando, FL, concerns about fire safety is typically the last thing on the minds of your hotel’s guests. Hotel fires can put many people’s lives in jeopardy, particularly sleeping guests and those who live on the higher floors of the hotel building. Fires can also cause large-scale damage to your business.
Policies within the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 require hotel management to conduct fire assessments, to apply fire control and prevention initiatives, and to give people the tools and knowledge to evacuate a fire as safely as possible.
Hotel fire can be very deadly, often taking the lives of those who are unaware of the danger and who are unprepared for it. Applying an appropriate amount of safety training and resources for your hotel can prevent the unthinkable.
Fire Safety for Hotels Checklist
The Regulatory Reform establishes a series of fire control responsibilities that must be handled to ensure that your hotel is safe for both guests and your staff. Any hotels who are lacking in fire safety measures can be issued notices requiring the hotels to address these deficiencies. In the most severe cases, the authorities may prevent the business from operating as usual until there is progress on attaining full compliance with the Reform’s standards.
This Fire Safety for Hotels Checklist is divided into these topics:
• Fire Risk Assessment
• Fire Wardens
• Fire Training
• Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems
• Fire Route Plans
• Fire Evacuation Plans
• Informing Guests of Fire Safety
Fire Risk Assessment
A fire risk assessment involves five steps.
• Hazard identification: consider the means by which fires can happen, such as obstructed ventilation and damaged electrical plug sockets. Locate potential sources of kindling as well, such as paper, laundry, chemicals, and furniture.
• At-risk individuals: you must assess who are the most vulnerable people in the event of a fire. Guests should be your main focus. They generally don’t know your building’s layout and could even be soundly sleeping when a fire breaks out. Another important group to consider are those with hearing, seeing or mobility disabilities.
• Fire safety measures: assess ways to establish or improve upon current fire safety practices. This may include better housekeeping procedures, such as periodic checks of electrical appliances and plugs. Constructing disability-minded escape routes on the levels above the ground floor may be another measure.
• Record findings and corrective actions: The Regulatory Reform authorities will inspect your hotel records to ensure that you are actively managing your fire safety risks and hazards. This includes past compliance with their standards. This means that it’s necessary and wise to write down everything that you do and everything that still needs to be accomplished.
• Review: hotel buildings and their appliances do not last forever. This means that new hazards will show up from time to time and past fire control measures will lose their effectiveness. You must periodically reassess risks, reestablish control measures and rerecord fire prevention and control-related information.
It will be your responsibility to appoint someone with sufficient competence to serve as the hotel’s fire warden. This person will be responsible for the hotel’s fire safety, prevention, and evacuation guidelines. The fire warden can be someone picked out by you, or you can serve the role yourself. Either way, the designated fire warden must gain both technical and practical training in fire safety procedures so that they are well-versed in preventing and combating fires.
Hotel guests can’t be expected to know the building’s escape routes enough to evacuate efficiently, meaning that they may rely solely on someone who can guide them to safety during a fire. Fire wardens should maintain a guest list for this reason, and they should work with fire rescue personnel in cases when someone on the list cannot be accounted for in the evacuation process.
Some hotels are so large or complex that they need multiple fire wardens. At the bare minimum, there should be one fire warden on each floor, for each shift. Considerations should also be given for holidays and covered shifts for sicknesses or vacations.
You must provide fire training so that employees can respond appropriately to the alarm ringing. This includes situations when an employee should sound the alarm if it doesn’t go off automatically. This training includes fire hazard prevention measures, such as spotting and reporting problems, as good housekeeping practices. Training should also include the different types of fires, fire extinguishers, and how to correctly use them. Hotel training should familiarize the staff of all types with fire escape routes and locations for people to assemble during the evacuation phase. All employees should know who are the appointed fire wardens and when they have to fulfill that role.
Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems
A hotel's fire detection and alarm system are legally mandated. It’s your responsibility to ensure that manual call points are installed throughout the building in easy-to-spot locations. If the staff can find these manual call points without any trouble, then they can activate them more efficiently if a fire or fire damage is observed or reported.
Smoke detectors should be inspected monthly at a minimum. Manual call points should be tested weekly during normal business hours. Alarms throughout the hotel should be loud enough to immediately wake up guests and alert hotel staff of the fire hazard. Room alarms close to the head of the bed should ring around 75dB. Hotel guests must immediately wake up and begin evacuation efforts in the event of a fire. This is because guests can suffocate from unsuspectingly inhaling smoke while asleep, even post-evacuation.
A competent employee with technician experience or an external contractor should periodically check equipment and conduct necessary repairs.
Some items that should be inspected include:
• Kitchen appliances
• Fire doors
• Firefighting equipment
• Plug sockets
Make sure to keep maintenance and repair records. They serve as proof that your hotel is in compliance and inform you of upcoming servicing and checks.
Escape Route Plans
Escape routes should be positioned in ways that ensure that anyone can safely reach them even if the fire blocks out a different path.
Escape routes should:
• Be enclosed with smoke- and fire-resistant materials
• Be obstruction-free
• Be accessible for those with disabilities
• Remain closed as much as possible to prevent the spread of smoke and fire
Fire Evacuation Plans
For hotels, one of two evacuation plans are typically used:
• Simultaneous evacuation: small, uncomplicated hotels have alarm systems that warn all rooms and floors to evacuate simultaneously.
• Horizontal/Vertical phased evacuation: for more complex hotel structures, the system is designed to sound alarms and evacuate those who are in immediate danger first.
Your risk assessment and your local fire service can inform you if you need more information.
Informing Guests of Fire Safety
Your hotel guests should be immediately informed of manual call points and escape routes. Fire safety information forms for guests should clarify:
• Steps to take if the guest sees a fire or if the guest hears the alarm.
• The closest fire exit route from their hotel room & a floor plan.
• The closest assembly point location.
SERVPRO of Winter Park
In the event of a hotel fire, reach out to SERVPRO of Winter Park, serving the Orlando, FL area. SERVPRO of Winter Park can manage fire damage restoration projects at commercial levels for hotels or resorts.